A man and a boy featured in a chilling IS propaganda video showing the killing of a Palestinian have been identified as French citizens.
Investigators are also looking into whether the man is related to an extremist who attacked a Jewish school in southern France in 2012, an official said.
The official, who has close ties to intelligence services, also said another French fighter whose death in a suicide bombing was announced this week by IS is a young teenager. The man in the video speaks with a southern French accent and looks like the step-brother of Mohammed Merah, who killed seven people in attacks on a Jewish school and paratroopers in the south of France beginning on March 11, 2012.
In the video, the man praises attacks on Jews “in your own stronghold in France” as he and the boy stand behind the man about to be killed.
In addition to the 2012 killings in Toulouse, Jews in a kosher supermarket were among the targets of three days of terror in the Paris area this year that left 20 people dead, including the three gunmen.
“Here are the young lions of the caliphate,” the man says in the video. Soon afterwards, the child is shown shooting the man in the head.
French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll described the video as a “dreadful” killing, but refused to comment on the nationalities or identities of the man and boy. The French official with intelligence ties also confirmed the nationality of a French fighter whose death was announced this week by the Islamic State group. The group said Abu Ali al-Firansi died in a suicide bombing in Tikrit. The French official described him as a young teen.
About 1,400 people, including entire families, have left France to join extremists in Syria and Iraq, and many have returned.
“Nearly 90 French citizens have died there, weapons in hand to fight against our values,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.
About 3,000 Europeans are part of the fight, Mr Valls said, adding: “There could be 5,000 before the summer and without a doubt 10,000 by the end of the year.”
The man killed in the video has been identified as Palestinian Mohamed Said Ismail Musalam. The father of the Palestinian man says his son was not an Israeli spy but was tricked into joining the militants.
Said Musalam says IS lured his son, 19, with promises of women, money and cars. He says Mohamed contacted the family from Syria, saying he wanted to come home. The father spoke from the family’s east Jerusalem home, a day after IS released a video purporting to show the killing of his son, who IS has accused of being a spy for Israeli intelligence.
It shows the boy stepping forward and shooting the captive. The video was released by the IS group’s Furqan media arm and corresponds to previous IS videos.
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